College graduates, young adults, millennials: Do you want to get a great job? Here’s how:
First, move to Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska or North Dakota. Start working with one of the political parties there, even as a volunteer. Run for office, and move up the ranks by getting elected to higher offices until you finally get elected to the Senate!
This may sound a bit absurd, but here is a real-life example of someone who did just that: Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware. Wikipedia gives a brief bio: Thomas Richard Carper (born January 23, 1947) is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Delaware, serving since 2001. A member of the Democratic Party, Carper served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993 and was the 71st governor of Delaware from 1993 to 2001.
I was fortunate to have a conversation with Tom Carper around 1985 when he was fairly new in Congress. Since he wasn’t from Delaware, I asked him how he got there.
He said that when he was in the Navy and planning his future, he decided he wanted to get into higher offices of public service. He figured that the best way to get elected was to do it in a state with a small population. So, he moved to Delaware (45th in state population). He started volunteering for the Democratic Party, eventually got elected to the House, and the rest is history.
That’s why I suggested the four states above. They are the four states with the lowest populations. The combined population of all four is about two million people. Each of these four states has two senators.
On the other hand, the four largest states — California, Texas, Florida, and New York — have a combined population of 110 million people. Each of those states also has two senators. Do you get the picture? If you want to become a senator, you have a 55 times better chance to get elected in a small state!
On top of that, you have 55 times the voice per citizen as senators from the larger states. Do you get the bigger picture? The four smallest states have .006% of the country’s population yet, they have 8% of the voting power in the Senate. Something is not right about that.
I apologize. This is somewhat of a “bait-and-switch” article. Its main point is not really on how everybody can get a job. It is about how undemocratic our democracy is, and it is a call for reform. On the other hand, although my suggestion may not apply to everybody. It is a way some young people who are really committed to make a difference can actually get into public office. Are you willing to get into public service, with the specific goal of reforming all the things that make our government itself undemocratic and unworkable?
Develop your own list of how “anti-democracy” is built into the way our government itself operates. Starting with the point I just made, here are a few things that come to mind, in no particular order:
1. Each representative in the senate should represent the same number of people (or perhaps we should just get rid of the senate).
2. Eliminate the electoral college. Make it truly: One person gets one vote.
3. Let the people in Washington DC, (and our territories), have a say in our government by having the vote of their House Representative actually get counted.
4. While we’re at it, let Washington, D.C., have two senators. Their population is greater than Wyoming or Vermont.
5. Make voting for all citizens as easy as possible, not as hard as possible.
6. And another thing….
No, I don’t want to stress you out with more right now. Figuring out the mechanics of government reform will be your job. If you are ambitious, this may actually be a job you can take on – unpaid at the beginning. The job is to identify all the other things our government does that are anti-democratic, – e.g., filibustering, gerrymandering, lifetime appointments for supporting court justices, etc.
Create a giant social network of people who come up with agreement on the list of reforms. The list is not for all social reforms, just reforms to end the crippling of democratic government. Voters can then all ask candidates if they will initiate and vote for these reforms, regardless of whether they are Republican, Democrat or Independent.
You can count on my vote when you run for the presidency!
The writer lives in Santa Barbara.